That is what Pep Guardiola – he’s never seen a player or accomplished anything - said of one of Aston Villa’s new men in the midfield, 21-year-old Douglas Luiz.
He signed for the reigning champions, Guardiola’s Manchester City, in the summer of 2017 from Vasco da Gama – his boyhood club. The Brazilian moves to the B6 after being unable to secure football at the Etihad.
Luiz - tipped by many to be a potential replacement for Fernandinho - didn’t feature for Manchester City the last two seasons. This was not because of a lack of talent, but rather the issue for him was obtaining a work permit from the Home Office.
Whilst Villa officially announced the signing a few weeks ago, there had been a delay in the confirmation that the Brazilian has received a UK work permit. However, it was finally confirmed that the 21-year-old can ply his trade in England.
The Brazilian U23 captain has expressed his desire to be a leader in the middle of the park and he looks to have the tools to do so:
Whilst he is capable of playing both as an attacking and central midfielder, Luiz’ preferred position is as a defensive midfielder. That makes sense given that City’s manager praised his physical strength.
Having missed out on the preseason it will likely be at least a few weeks into the season before Douglas Luiz is acclimatized to Dean Smith’s system. Alongside the likes of Conor Hourihane, John McGinn and Marvelous Nakamba, he looks to add a physical holding presence that should help facilitate attacking moves – think a younger and more versatile Mile Jedinak.
Now most players have a highlight video that makes them look like an absolute boss. But Douglas Luiz doesn’t appear to be the next Aleksandar Tonev. This is the case because the £15 million signing reportedly comes with a clause that allows Manchester City to buy him back for around £25 million.
If that clause is activated, it means that Douglas Luiz excelled at Villa Park and the club did a good piece of business by making him their tenth summer signing.